Backlash over photo of Anthony Albanese at the Australian Open: 'Our undoing'

Some observers were taken aback by who Anthony Albanese sat beside to watch the Australian Open women's final.

A photo of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the Australian Open over the weekend has triggered backlash because of who he sat next to during the women's tennis final.

The Labor leader sat front and centre to watch Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina battle it out on Saturday night while appearing to enjoy the company of Peter Costello, a former political rival.

Mr Costello, now chairman of Nine Entertainment, is the former treasurer of the Liberal Party during the Howard government from 1996 to 2007, and he and Mr Albanese were pictured 'cosying up' and laughing while seemingly conversing during the finals match. The unlikely pairing had some observers lashing out on Twitter after seeing a photo of them both.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello at the Australian Open tennis.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello enjoyed the Australian Open tennis together on Saturday night. Source: Getty

Twitter users unsettled by PM's tennis partner

"Reports of Albo cosying up to Peter Costello at the tennis makes me really uncomfortable," one Tweeted on Sunday.

"Albo and Peter Costello chuckling it up in the AO stands won't trigger anyone, not one person," another sarcastically wrote.

Others referenced a quote by the PM who once said he likes "fighting Tories" — another name for Conservative party members or supporters. Some suggested the two shouldn't be "friends" given their political differences.

"Albo sitting with Peter Costello at the tennis. This is what fighting Tories looks like, I guess?' one Twitter user said.

Peter Costello and Anthony Albanese at the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne.
The PM received some backlash for 'cosying up' to his former rival. Source: Getty

Another hit out at the prime minister for "being friends with everyone".

"It will be our undoing, we desperately need a leader," the person concluded.

Some jumped to the Labor leader's defence and said their seat allocation was likely decided by Tennis Australia.

Both Costello and Albanese returned to the tennis on Sunday for the men's final. The PM sat next to Virgin Australia CEO and Tennis Australia chairperson Jayne Hrdlicka while Opposition Leader Peter Dutton sat alongside Peter Costello.

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